5 Ways This World-Record Setting Marathoner Optimizes Her Body Inside and Out – runnersworld.com

Des Linden’s fueling strategies will maximize your miles and longevity.

Des Linden’s fueling strategies will maximize your miles and longevity.

Some runners just win marathons; others make history. Des Linden falls firmly into the second category. In 2018, she became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years, finishing with a time of 2:39:54 amid driving rain, gale-force winds and freakish, plunging temps. It wouldn’t be the last time Linden broke boundaries. In 2021, she set the world record by finishing a 50K (31.06 miles) race in 2:59:54. Averaging a stunning 5:47 per mile pace, in the process, she bested the previous record by more than seven minutes.

“Good nutrition plays a big role in keeping my body strong and healthy—allowing me to put in the work without setbacks.”

A two-time Olympic marathon competitor, the 39-year-old legend has had nine top-5 finishes at World Marathon Majors. Today, Linden who currently trains in northern Michigan, lives by the mantra, “keep showing up and pushing ahead,”—and she knows that means eating like a champ.

“Good nutrition plays a big role in keeping my body strong and healthy and allowing me to put in the work without interruptions or setbacks,” Linden said. With that in mind, Linden has made it a point to learn more about nutrition and identify the techniques that work for her from getting enough nourishment to tracking food and its effect on the body’s biomarkers. Here are the five go-to nutritional tips that keep her running her best with each passing mile—and could do the same for you, too.

“My approach to nutrition on a large scale is pretty simple,” Linden said, “That’s to make sure I’m getting enough food to fuel my body. The fine-tuning of that process has never been super important to me but I’m learning to prioritize that more.”

And because runners are notorious for not eating the calories they need, she stresses always getting enough food. “The wrong fuel is better than being under-fueled,” she said. This doesn’t mean Linden spends her days consuming fast-food and ultra-processed packaged calories. “Fewer bags and boxes, more real foods, is my nutrition philosophy,” said Linden, who concentrates on whole foods to give her body the nutrients it needs. A wide assortment of colorful vegetables, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, and mangoes are among her preferred nutrient-dense choices. “Whatever is available at the local farmers market is a big driver of how I eat,” she said.